The abolition of Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) overnight by the ministry of law and justice of the government of India came as a shock to the film industry. Filmmakers Vishal Bhardwaj, Hansal Mehta, Guneet Monga criticised this sudden decision on social media.
The Quint spoke to Anurag Kashyap, whose encounters with FCAT go way back.
In 2016, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had banned Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Haraamkhor, claiming it was too provocative. Producers Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, and Feroze Alameer, along with director Shlok Sharma, filed a case with the FCAT. The decision was reversed, and not only did the body clear the film but also gave Haraamkhor a U/A certificate.
Before this, in June 2016, Anurag and other producers had approached the FCAT after 94 cuts and an A certification were suggested by the CBFC for Udta Punjab. But since FCAT head SK Mahajan was on leave then, the film producers moved court.
Anurag Reacts to FCAT Getting Abolished
Speaking about the sudden abolition of FCAT Anurag says, "Every law passed or abolished in the last couple of years has been overnight or early morning. So no, there is no shock. We are just waiting for which one it is this time."
Talking about the effect this decision will have on filmmakers he says,
""First, this means that producers will become scared to get caught in the loop of the High Court, with no certainty about when their films will release. It will also discourage filmmakers to make movies on stronger themes. On the other hand, I have a better experience when it came to approaching courts, as we saw in the cases of 'Black Friday', 'Udta Punjab' etc. So let’s see how this plays out"." - Anurag Kahyap, filmmaker
Abolition of FCAT: What It Means
The ministry of law and justice of the government of India has abolished the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), as per a report by filminformation.com. The abolition will be imposed with immediate effect. On 4 April, the ministry promulgated an ordinance, The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation And Conditions Of Service) Ordinance, 2021, for the same. The abolition means that producers discontented by the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) decision will now have to approach the high court instead of FCAT to address their grievances.
Other Filmmakers and Actors React
Reacting to the decision, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj tweeted, "Such a sad day for cinema".
This is what filmmaker Hansal Mehta had to say. "Do the high courts have a lot of time to address film certification grievances? How many film producers will have the means to approach the courts? The FCAT discontinuation feels arbitrary and is definitely restrictive. Why this unfortunate timing? Why take this decision at all?"
Producer Guneet Monga wrote, "How does something like this happen ? Who decides ?"
While Richa didn't say much in words, but a GIF she posted expressed her sentiments.
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